- Biodiversity can be a tough subject to understand sometimes and to explain. After reading through this module, in a paragraph of 150-250 words, how would you go about explaining the subject of biodiversity to another person unfamiliar with the term?
Working on a degree in Agriculture at Penn State, I end up hearing this term quite often actually, but what does it really mean? Biodiversity centers on the idea that many different organisms live in the same general vicinity or environment creating a sort of mini-ecosystem. The level of biodiversity can be measured anywhere from a very small scale to a very large scale and researchers on this topic study how these diverse organisms coexist in the same area together and still survive. Sometimes we might even think that when we look at our neighbor next door “how do we do that?”! Biodiversity is an important aspect of the environmental system because if everything was exactly the same, we would all be prone to the exact same diseases and it would be more difficult to come up with new inventions, especially, since so many of our ideas actually come from nature, to name a few issues. This kind of reminds me of discussing monoculture in my Ag classes. Monoculture is when a farmer only grows one crop and one crop only in the same spot from year to year to year. Consequently this means that the soil can be depleted of all of a particular nutrient, the crops are all susceptible to the same diseases, and thus if a pathogen or insect pest arrives on the scene, all could be lost since all of the fields would then be affected. So biodiversity makes things more interesting!
- Finally in a third paragraph of 150-250 words, talk about what factors might contribute to the biodiversity or lack thereof in a given area.
The level of biodiversity can depend and be affected by a number of different things, such as the weather, the latitude, the population, etc. With regards to the weather, Biodiversity can vary with very humid climates, hot and dry ones, ones with a lot of rainfall and so on. In State College, the climate is fairly cool and somewhat humid. Winters can be very cold, so any organisms which live here must be capable of either withstanding these cold temperatures and the snow and ice or be able to hibernate. Consequently we have some bears, many insects and fungi, which thrive in the humid climate characteristic of our summers and falls. Besides the climate, there are other things which govern the level of diversity. Globalization of business, which may in turn encourage monoculture because certain areas are better for growing a certain crop than others and which can now be transported just about everywhere in the world with globalization.
- For the last part of this assignment, find one image that represents biodiversity in your understanding of the term. Include it with your blog post and add a short description of why you feel this can relate to biodiversity.
This picture represents biodiversity to me because I can look at the mushrooms there and imagine all of the organisms which nourish themselves on the fruiting structure of the fungus. The dead leaves of fall lay around the mushrooms and one can envision how they will be decomposed by the organisms in the soils, such as insects and worms. The mushrooms are also wet, indicating the weather was rainy and thus very beneficial for the fungi as well as the other plants in the forest along with it. This is biodiversity on a very small scale, but I think it’s pretty neat how many different processes and organisms one can imagine operating there with just one picture.